Dustman (4e Theme)

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By Tony DiTerlizzi


The Dustmen believe that everyone has already died and passed on, that existence as we know it can't possibly be real "life". Life is good, they stress, with positive feelings, emotions and experiences. Time in this world is drab, miserable, full of pain - it can't be life. The world and all things in it are just pale reflections, mere shadows of some better place where life exists as it should be. Fact is, everyone is dead, this multiverse is where beings wind up after they die, it's just that some are more dead than others. It's the true dead - the undead as some call them - that provide the answers. These creatures have no passions, no emotions; nothing hinders their existence. All people should strive to attain similar purity, the state known as True Death, complete non-existence, a release from the torment of this false life. But rushing headlong toward death isn't the answer. A fool who just tries to kill himself to reach True Death just doesn't get it, he hasn't attained the purity. A splinter group of the Dustmen call themselves the Hopeful. They believe that once they've achieved the purity of True Death, they'll be rewarded with True Life. Work to forget your passions, emotions reveal you as one who still clings to the illusion of "life." Without passion, a body has no pain, divest yourself of all passions, and you have achieved the final stage of death - you have become one of the True Dead.


The Dustman philosophy is not one that is attractive to most people, most members are devotees to gods of the death domain, though some primal adherents that feel a particular connection to the natural force of death can be found among them. With a focus self-control and introspection, individuals with a high Wisdom score make for successful Dustmen, additionally, members are encouraged to study the intricacies of death and undeath, so Intelligence is also complementary.

Class Prerequisites

None, while divine classes are among the most common, other classes are also accepted. Clerics are the most obvious choice for Dustman characters, Avengers also exist among them, hunting down those that think they can escape death. Shamans who revere death as a natural force are a potential option, and of course, necromancer mages feel right at home within their ranks.

Race Prerequisites

None, all people are equal in death after all. Few races feel a particular connection to the Dustmen's teachings, though there are some that have relation to the dead. A deva may believe their reincarnation to be a curse and seek to die permanently, thus coming to join the Dustmen. Githzerai, in their usual stoicism can find respect among the Dustmen as exemplars of emotionlessness.

Associated Skill: None.

Starting Feature

All Dustmen gain the benefits of the Dead Truce. A pact reached in times more ancient than memory between the Dustmen and mysterious powers of the Shadowfell.


When encountering an undead creature they will treat you as one of their own. Under normal circumstances, they they will refrain from attacking you unless given reason to. Such reason includes, but is not limited to, you attacking them, they receive orders from their master to attack you or, in the case of intelligent undead, you getting in the way of their goals.

Additional Features

Level 5 Feature

Dustmen inevitably gain some knowledge about the living dead as well as some medical knowledge from seeing many more corpses than the average person.


You gain a +2 power bonus to Heal checks and Religion checks.

Level 10 Feature

You have effectively become one of the undead yourself, gaining resistance to necrotic energies. Although, all of us are dead in the first place anyway, so why bother distinguishing?


You gain resistance to Necrotic damage equal to 5 + one-half your level, in addition, for effects relating to living or undead creatures, you may choose to be considered living, undead, both, or neither for each individual effect.

Optional Powers

Go In Peace Dustman Utility 2
You encourage your enemy to peacefully accept death, not to struggle against the inevitable.
Free Action Close Burst 5
Trigger: An enemy in burst would make an attack upon being reduced to 0 hit points
Effect: The triggering attack does not occur.

Empty Shell Dustman Utility 6
On death's door, you try to embrace the True Death, while unable to reach it, you are temporarily able to leave your physical body and exist in spirit form.
Daily Star.gif Shadow
No Action Personal
Trigger: You fail a death saving throw
Effect: You spend a healing surge and can immediately stand up as a free action. You gain insubstantial and phasing until the end of the encounter.

Summon Undead Labourer Dustman Utility 10
You request assistance from your fellow Dustmen and they provide you with an obedient undead to use for a time.
Daily Star.gif Arcane, Necromancy, Shadow, Summoning
Minor Action Ranged 5
Effect: You summon a Medium undead labourer in an unoccupied square within range. The undead labourer has speed 6. When the undead labourer is destroyed, you do not lose a healing surge. Once per round during your turn you can give the undead labourer the following special command.
Free Action: The undead labourer manipulates an object, such as opening a door, picking up an object or administering a potion to an ally.
Special: If you haven't given the undead labourer any commands on your turn, before the start of your next turn one ally, whoever is first to do so, can give commands to it as if they were the summoner.

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